Matrix Fight Night: The non-musical Bon Jovi
The Bon Jovi we're talking about here has no musical connections. Infact, he is a 25-year-old former kickboxer from Imphal, Manipur who wants to build a name for himself in the fighting circuit.
After three successive editions in the UAE, Matrix Fight Night (MFN) is set to make its comeback to India for its seventh event, due to be held at the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad on Friday. The main event will feature Afghanistan’s Abdul Azim Badakshi and Brazil’s Marcelo Guarilha.
Although 20 of the biggest names will fight it out in the mixed martial art (MMA) event from across India, one name that stands out is Bon Jovi.
If you're thinking about the popular rockstar by the same name, you're wrong. The Bon Jovi we're talking about here has no musical connections. Infact, he is a 25-year-old former kickboxer from Imphal, Manipur who wants to build a name for himself in the fighting circuit.
Asked about the reason behind the unique name, the 5'3" fighter said it was his father's choice, as it was a popular band at the time. However, he is not the only one who has a quirky name in his household; his younger brother, a student, was named after legendary pop star Michael Jackson.
“My surname is Nongmaithem,” Bon Jovi told HT during a telephonic conversation.
“There is not much of an age difference between me and my brother – he is about two to three years younger. He is not into combat sports right now although he does have a bit of experience in judo,” he added.
The Manipuri fighter will be seen in action against Chandigarh’s Gajendra Rawat at the MFN event on Friday.
He comes from a humble background and has been the sole earning member of the family after the death of his father. His entry into combat sports started with kickboxing, which saw him take part in several state and national level competitions, before switching to the MMA discipline.
He made the switch when he saw an Ultimate Fighting Championship great in action. “Kickboxing gave me a lot of experience and as my interest in combat sports grew, I started watching the MMA style as well. One day I saw Jon “Bones” Jones, which got me shifting my path,” he said.
However, the journey so far has not been without thorns for the MMA fighter who moonlights as an MMA trainer in Imphal to support his family.
“I’m married and my mother lives with me. I also work as a tutor for the younger generation interested in MMA. We have a gym in Imphal and I’m a trainer there.”
“This is how I make money; it is not much but enough to put food on the table,” he said.
After associating with the MFN, an MMA platform founded by Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff and his sister Krishna, Bon Jovi hopes for better days.
“MFN is the biggest platform of mixed martial arts in India. If I fight well, I’ll also get more bonus. And my goal is to earn good money from this platform,” he said.
Though Bon Jovi's fight against Rawat on Friday is categorised under the bantamweight division (57.2–61.2 kg), he aspires to become the flyweight champion which he believes will pave his way to bigger platforms such as the UFC.